Whanganui's New World supermarket has diverted 97 per cent of its rubbish from landfill and is now earning money from its waste.

Owner John Kelly said the supermarket has been working on waste minimisation and diversion for three years and relies on each department in the store to contribute to the process.

"We started off changing from domestic cardboard recycling to export cardboard recycling which gives a lift in value of the product.

"It made us pay more attention to getting more cardboard recycled."


A new compactor presses the cardboard into a pallet weighing about one tonne. The supermarket produces one of the pallets each day.

"Then we moved on to co-mingled recycling with Envirowaste," Mr Kelly said.

"We didn't use to have co-mingled pick-ups for businesses in Whanganui. We were doing the recycling ourselves at the recycling centre until Envirowaste started doing co-mingled pick-ups."

The co-mingled bins are used for glass, plastic and cans.

Recycling of protein, such as discarded meats and fats, has further reduced the waste quantity. The proteins are frozen into a "giant popsicle" in a wheelie bin before being taken away for reprocessing. Waste from the produce and bakery departments is recycled as pig food.

"We invested in some compacting machinery and now we have one bin of rubbish a week going out," Mr Kelly said.

"We have diverted 97 per cent of our waste from landfill.

"We get paid for cardboard and clear plastic so we're in a positive mode for waste diversion. Previously it cost us $1300 to $1400 a month to get rid of waste; now that's been reversed and we're being paid for our waste."

Foodstuffs outlets around New Zealand are recycling and reducing waste as much as possible, although the ability to recycle depends on what facilities are available in their area.

"Going forward, we'll be looking at plastics recycling. Recycling of plastic bags and other soft plastics isn't available yet in Whanganui but it's on the cards. We're moving to recyclable and compostable containers in the service deli."

Mr Kelly said the supermarket worked closely with Sustainable Whanganui on its waste diversion initiatives.

"They've been great to work with. I recommend them to other businesses if they want new ideas on how to minimise waste."

Sustainable Whanganui and Envirowaste are continuing to work with New World to suggest other ways the supermarket can reduce and recycle its waste.